Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

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October 26, 2006 • Reviews

The Datexx Sentina Outback Rechargeable PowerBank Review

I’m always looking for alternative sources of power for my electronic devices, which is why the Datexx Sentina Outback Rechargeable PowerBank caught my eye. Billed as a super bright LED flashlight, a motion detector / emergency light, a USB charger for electronic gadgets, a power generator, and an SOS siren, the Outback almost sounds like it tries to take on too many properties, a “jack of all trades” if you will.

Let’s take a look and see if this device lives up to its billing, or if as the famous other half of the “jack of all trades” saying goes, it is a “master of none.”

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The packaging is the plastic variety that most stores love. It protects the contents from theft, but takes a series of acrobatic maneuvers and a very sharp knife to open. Someone at Datexx was kind enough to slice mine for me, perhaps they have read how dangerous I am with sharp pointy objects. 😉

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Inside the package are the Sentina Outback light, an AC charger, a USB charger cord, four interchangeable tips (Nokia, Motorola, Samsung/ Kyocera and LG), and an instruction pamphlet.

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Specifications:
Power Source: DC 9V
AC Adapter: AC 120V 60Hz 9W
Power Output (USB / 5mm jack): DC 5V
Motion Sensor Range: 12 feet, 100 degree radius
Photo Electric Sensor: Activated in 5 Lux or under
Batteries AAA NiMH 4.8V 600mAh x 1
Charging Time: 12 hours
Charging Life Cycle: about 500 times
Operating Temperature: 32?F to 104?F (0? C to 40? C)
Storage Temperature: 5?F to 113?F (-15? C to 45? C)

The Outback light is approximately 6″ tall x 3″ wide x 2.5″ thick, and it weighs 8.7 ounces. The body is composed of a fern green plastic with silver plastic trim. The front of the device has (from right to left) a speaker, four LED flashlight, and a motion sensor behind a prismatic plastic cover. Due to the design of the light, it is splash-proof and may be used in wetter than usual environments, such as on a boat or at a campsite in the rain.

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The right side has a rubber stopper covering the USB port for the included cable and a 5mm jack. Further up the side is a Power switch with On / Off slider which works in tandem with the switch on the left to control various lighting functions.

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Here is a shot of the USB port and the 5mm jack covered by the rubber stopper.

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The top of the Outback has the light sensor, the LED charging light and an SOS button that when pressed emits an incredibly annoying – so perhaps very efficient – 100dB siren. It is guaranteed to make your dog howl and may cause a migraine to ensue. 😉

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The left side of the Outback has a Light switch with three settings; the settings are marked in the instructions, but not on the device, which may make remembering their function tricky to remember. When the slider is pushed up towards the top of the light, it is in the “Night” position. Setting the Power switch on the opposite side to On in conjunction with the Night setting makes the device function as an automatic nightlight; the sensor on top will keep it from running when there is daylight. This nightlight function works with or without the AC adapter. If the Outback is kept plugged in with this setting and the power goes out, the LED lamp will automatically turn on and function as an emergency light.

When the Light switch is pressed towards the bottom of the Outback, it is in the “Motion” position. Setting the Power switch on the opposite side to On in conjunction with the Motion setting makes the device function as a motion sensor; it detects motion within 12 feet and will activate the LED lamp for 15 seconds to allow passing in the dark. It will also stay on as long as there is movement in its range. This motion-sensor function works with or without the AC adapter.

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When the Light switch is in the middle, or OFF position and the Power switch on the opposite side is in the On position, a the four bright white LEDs will glow, making the Outback a great flashlight. The plastic loop at its top makes an easy handle for a child to hold, or it can be hung from a hook.

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This picture shows the rubber cover on the left side which protects the AC power port.

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Here’s a shot of the bottom edge – not much there but the speaker.

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On the rear of the lamp is a hand crank which can be used to provide extra power in emergency situations. According to the instructions, “one minute of cranking generates enough power for about ten minutes of LED lighting.”

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The crank lifts out and away from the Outback’s body; it has a smooth motion and doesn’t create a heavy grinding gear sound as it is wound.

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Before it is used, the Outback must be charged for 12 hours; ideally it should be kept plugged in any time it is not in use.

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When the Outback is charged, the top LED will glow green.

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The flashlight and stored power qualities of the Outback already make for a very handy household tool, but as the late night infomercial guy says…”wait, there’s more!

Perhaps the most intriguing use for the Outback is its power generating capabilities. With the Power switch set to Off and a fully charged Outback, devices such as many popular mobile phones or an iPod can be charged. The four included tips will work with many Nokia, Motorola (except mini USB models), Samsung / Kyocera and LG phones.

These devices are only to be attached to the Outback when it is fully charged, and for no more than an hour. Evidently after an hour has passed, the device will begin to lose power gained from the Outback, a type of reverse drain. Although it is not one of the specific models listed (Samsung A400, A 500 & N400 are), the A900 connects and accepts a charge from the Outback. There are additional power tips available, which may be purchased for $7.99 each.

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According to the Outback paperwork, when the device is fully charged, one hour fast charge on an iPod can provide up to five hours of music play on the iPod or up to one hour of video play on an iPod Video. Using the hand crank generator, two minutes of cranking time can produce 30 minutes use of the LED flashlight, five minute of cell phone talk time, or two minutes of iPod playing time.

Obviously the Outback isn’t meant to be a primary charging source for any device, but in an emergency it will provide enough juice to make an SOS call or squeeze a little more music out of a nearly dead iPod.

If you need all-purpose motion sensing rechargeable LED nightlight / flashlight with a splash-proof design (say that five times fast!), then you need look no further than the Datexx Sentina Outback Rechargeable PowerBank. The addition of the power generating properties and the hand crank give it added value for those that might need an occasional power boost.

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The Datexx Sentina Outback Rechargeable PowerBank is available directly from the manufacturer.
MSRP: $50 for the basic kit, additional power tips are $7.99 each
What I Like: The “splash-proof” design, four bright white LED lights, its motion sensor and nightlight properties. I also like that it can be used as an emergency charger for cell phones and certain digital music players, and the hand crank makes it practical even in situations where there is no power outlet for recharging.
What Needs Improvement: I wish that it could pack more of a power-generating punch, but in an emergency what it gives?will be?better than nothing.

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